The Spine

Anyone entered this momster? Or considerIng it, tempted by it or just read about it?

It looks completely mental - and that makes it just a little bit tempting?!


  • My all time running hero Joss Naylor completed the Pennine Way in about 3 days 4.5 hrs but that was in summer.  The guy who holds the record now apparently only stopped twice during the run for about 20mins each time! Also in summer.  To do it in winter would be very very tough - requiring plenty of experience and knowledge.  I think you'd need to live, eat and breathe fell running for at least 18 months to before attempting this!  But for the right person with the right mindset and the correct experience and knowledge it's do-able.  Too brutal for me though - one long day in the mountains in winter running is enough for me these days!  I used to do the KIMM but these days at the end of a long day out all I want is a bath and a clean bed and clothes!
  • This event has come to my attention. 

    Being a realistic man, I might look to do it in 2013. 

    Anybody else want to throw their hat into the ring?

  • So one vote for utter madness and one for tempted - which pretty much sums up my feelings image image
  • I'm tempted, but Jan is a too soon, 2013 I am all over it!
  • Yes, Jan is very soon.....but not too long to think about it!!
  • Too soon for 2012 but thinking seriously about 2013. Seems only six signed up so far. Very expensive coming up to Christmas!!
  • The only madness I see is the entry fee!!!
  • By my reckoning, it's 35-40 miles per day for 7 days in winter conditions , 8-9 hours light max image
  • Been pondering this one for some time.
    They have introduced a 100 mile option which I could just justify. 100 miles in 70 hrs is not quite so epic but still bloody hard in jan. I have never tried sleeping after 50 miles and doing another 50 the next day so using the 100 miler as a training run for the 2013 race sort of makes sense.
    I suspect that one reason for the lack of takers is the lack of detailed info on the website. They also have it in trail runner mag but say you have to have done 3 ultras this year (in fact this is only for the Elite Class)
    The prize for winning the 100 miler is free entry for the full 268miles next year. If no one else entered the 100 I could even win this!!!
    Still dithering but I have just ordered the Maps.
    Any one else care to join me on the 100 as it could get very lonly out there? Gulp.
  • I am in for the 100 miler. Anyone else care to join me?
    If you hate hot weather ultras as I do then this could be for you. Deadline for entering is the 16 Dec but I suspect they may extend this.
    My race plan is to run/walk this as if I was doing the full 268 miles. Shall use a bivibag as emergency kit as it looks like we can sleep at the checkpoints. Don,t know what to expect except exposed trails and bog but if all goes well then should be better prepared for the full 268 in 2013 .
  • Hi Ian - I'm still pondering!! Will do Challenger Class if anything.

     My major sticking point is the cost of the kit I'll need - whilst I will use nearly all of it again so it isn't a waste it will be a big one off hit!!

    Looking at:

    Hilleberg Akto tent or Terra Nova Jupiter/Saturn

    PHD Minim 600 bag or a Rab Alpine 600

    And will need a new rucksack I think - reckon I can squeeze it all into a 30-35L?

    Anyone got any other suggestions. The Alpkit sleeping bags are much cheaper......and sold out!! I need light as I'm only little!!

    Ian - what are you doing for footwear as this is my major debate?

  • Hi Rich. You can carry a bivi bag instead of a tent- Much cheeper (£50 for good foil type)+ Less weight. Looks like we can sleep at checkpoints indoors.
    I have all my Mountain marathon kit but wont use my Terra Nover Laser Tent.
    Sleeping bag Marmot Hydrogen boosted with a Thermolite Reactor Extreme Liner. ( this gives an extra 14c capability . The combination gives me a 1,4 and 3 season bag at a cheeper price)
    Bag OMM Classic 32l . Mat :Thermarest Neoair although I might take a baloon bed if pack vol looks too much. Shoes: Salomon XT Wings and Brooks Cascadia at 50 miles.
    Challenger class for me , then perhaps full Spine in 2013.
    Still not made my mind about footwear if the forecast is for Ice. Possibly XC Spikes.
  • Thanks Ian - helpful

    When I put "Challenger", I meant "Open"!! Dementia sets in.......

    Like the idea re sleeping bags - still £300 though by my reckoning.

    May just see you there
  • They have just announced free Kahtoola Microspikes for first 25 open/elite runners so thats the traction sorted.
    Thats one hell of a test trial for Kahtoola!
  • Hi Rich I take it that,s you in ? I guess thats the bank balance blown then!
  • Hi Rich
    So now we are in the decisions start. Not really enough info in the race rules re exactly how the checkpoints work, food cooking and sleeping. Trying to erect a tent with frozen hands every 70 miles would not be fun. (most of the ultra light tents are not much good in severe weather) Then the cooking issues, can we use our stoves inside and what,s the ruling on cafe/pub pit stops.
    I don,t really understand why they insist on a -10c bag but you don,t have to carry a sleeping mat. As for footwear then fellshoes would be good for the boggy bits and snow. For your distance you will need a super comfy cushioned shoe. wet feet for 6 days could lead to a DNF
    MIght be worth carrying a spare pair of shoes.
    My pack list seems to grow but it,s looking like a min of 8Kg once I take into account of all the cold weather gear!
  • Agree with you Ian - its all decisions, decisions now!

    Like you, i Need to clarify the rules on checkponts. And if we can use shops etc for provisions, that will make quite a difference! I fancy the answer may be "no" though image
  • If anyone wants to join me on 100miles of the Spine( Challenger Class) the the organizers are still taking entries . The Open and Elite entries are now closed . Race time limit is very generous (70 Hrs) as you will probably take time out to sleep at some point.
  • In a moment of complete and utter madness I entered this crazy event.

    I'm hoping to raise some money for Help for Heroes and have set up a Just Giving page.

    I'd be really grateful for any donations - they may just ease the pain a bit.

    Cheers and Merry Christmas everyone - will keep you updated

  • They started 9am today . Conditions ideal (clear and dry for now)
    Had to drop out due to a family bereavement but gave my place to Mark Brooks. He is under strict instruction to win the 100mile class. Part of Ist prize is race entry for 2013( No pressure there then !)
  • Mark has nearly finished the 100 mile class. Rich1 still going strong for the full 268miles. (did the first 46 in about 18 hrs) . 30% of the runners have dropped out already .Several of the field have teamed up which has to be a good move . Conditions are -5c before the wind chill (not much fun with 150+miles ahead of you!) Looks like at least one team plans to bivi out on the trail tonight. It all makes summer Ultras look a walk in the park compared with the Spine.
  • Mark won the challenger class in 36hrs 30min. Impressive for what turned out to be 110 miles in sub zero conditions!
    Two more competitors have pulled out. Looks like they are in for another freezing night. With wind and rain on the way.
    At this rate anyone actually completing the whole 268 mile course will have gone through hell and back.
  • Now down to 5 in the race Rich1 had to pull out as he could not maintain his body temperature. To get as far as he did shows just what a strong spirit he has.
    Looks like the temperature is due to rise now so lets hope the rain/cloud does not close in .
    According to Mark777 wet feet and the long hours of darkness will be taking its toll.

  • Well done Richard.! Great effort.!

    Mark B

  • Cheers, Mark - awesome run yourself.

    What a great adventure I had - the camaraderie was amazing and it felt like one big family. Horribly tough.....but great. The 2nd stage - 63 miles, 27 hours - was horrific, soul- destroying, awe-inspiring and such a great feeling to finish!

    .....and amazingly un-sore today......but probably not going for a run!!
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